Austerity damages Portugal

This video is called Portugal stages mass strike in protest of government spending cuts.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Austerity-hit Portugal ‘likely’ to miss deficit goal

Tuesday 28 August 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Foreign inspectors faced a dilemma as they began assessing Portugal’s compliance with its financial bailout agreement today.

Portugal has abided by its commitments to slash spending in return for a €78 billion (£62bn) loan.

But falling tax revenue due to the resulting recession means that Portugal is likely to miss its budget deficit target.

That means bailout lenders may have to grant Portugal more time – a concession they have been unwilling to offer Greece.

The Treasury collected around €2 billion (£1.6bn) less than expected in tax revenue amid the country’s third recession in four years, with the government predicting the economy to shrink by 3.3 per cent in 2012 and unemployment at a record 15.2 per cent.

The number of bankruptcies jumped 77 per cent between January and March this year.

The constitutional court has ruled out a plan to cut the Christmas and holiday bonuses of public employees and pensioners as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

The government could get around that prohibition by extending cuts to the private sector but that would spark fierce political opposition.

The bailout agreement was signed in May 2011 by the three main parties but that consensus could be unravelling.

The opposition Socialist Party says it won’t back any more cuts because austerity is choking the economy.

Popular Party MPs, the junior members of the coalition government, have also balked at further cuts, as have grass-roots members of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

The austerity programme, including tax rises and pay and welfare cuts has also angered trade unions, bringing a series of strikes and protests.

In what are extraordinary circumstances, former Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) Prime Minister José Sócrates was arrested in front of hordes of reporters and photographers after he landed at Lisbon airport on Friday: here.

Greece: the government’s new attacks provoke anger not fear: here.

24 thoughts on “Austerity damages Portugal

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  9. Portuguese aviation workers to strike against worsening conditions

    Portuguese aviation staff employed by Groundforce took strike action Thursday, after workers unanimously supported a three-day strike, reported.

    Fernando Henriques of the Airport and Aviation union (SITAVA) said, “There are lots of reasons for this struggle and the strike on the 15th”. Henriques added the dispute, “has been dragging on for some years, but it has become worse as working days have lengthened to nine or 10 hours.”

    The strike hit Lisbon airport the hardest as Groundforce is one of two handling companies. Flights affected could be those of British Airways, Lufthansa, TAP, Sata, Vueling, Aigle Azur and Air France. Others airports affected were Oporto, Funchal and Porto Santo.

    SITAVA representative Fernando Henriques has previously stated that the protest would attract workers from the other four unions that represent air transport support service workers.


  10. Portugal Gov’t Punished for Austerity Measures

    LISBON, Portugal September 29, 2013 (AP)

    By BARRY HATTON, Associated Press

    Portuguese voters angry about austerity have punished the coalition government’s senior party in municipal elections.

    The center-right Social Democratic Party recorded its worst local election defeat in more than two decades in Sunday’s ballot.

    Meanwhile, the main opposition Socialist Party claimed its biggest success in the nationwide elections for mayors and councilors.

    Even so, Social Democrat leader and Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho says he can’t halt his unpopular program of tax hikes, pay and pension cuts and reductions in public services.

    Portugal agreed to enact those austerity measures in return for a 78 billion-euro ($105 billion) bailout two years ago.

    But an expected third straight year of recession in 2013 and a jobless rate of 16.5 percent have turned many people against the bailout agreement.


    • Voters reject Portugal austerity policies in local elections

      Published September 29, 2013

      Lisbon (AFP) – Portugal’s opposition Socialists inflicted a stinging defeat on the Social Democrats in local elections as voters displayed their frustrations at the government’s austerity measures.

      Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho admitted his conservative Social Democrat party’s “national defeat” in the municipal polls Sunday, which saw them lose control of the major cities of Porto, Sintra and Vila Nova de Gaia to the Socialists, according to partial results.

      The opposition Socialists also retained power in the capital Lisbon, with an increased share of the vote.

      “We had the goal of retaining the majority of town halls but that didn’t happen,” Passos Coelho said, congratulating the opposition Socialists for their “significant victory”.

      “As Prime Minister I will continue along the path we are on, which is essential in order to overcome the economic crisis and restore confidence and growth for Portugal,” the prime minister insisted.

      “The SDP has suffered its worst results in municipal elections,” he said, calling the defeat the “price to pay” for the government’s austerity policies.

      According to partial results covering nearly 90 percent of the constituencies, the Socialists won 36.7 percent of the vote with the Social Democrats garnering just 18.9 percent.

      That translates into 130 municipalities for the Socialists against 90 for the SDP and its allies, with another 40-plus results to come in.

      At the previous municipal elections in 2009, the SDP, together with allied right-leaning parties, won a majority of the municipalities, securing 139 against 132 for the Socialists, who nonetheless won more individual votes.

      The elections were seen as the first test of the austerity policies championed by the two-year-old centre-right coalition government.

      In exchange for a 78 billion euro ($105 billion) rescue package in May 2011, Portugal’s government has imposed tax hikes and wage and pension cuts in a bid to balance the budget, aggravating a downturn that has sent unemployment to a record 17.7 percent at the beginning of this year.

      Despite growing discontent, the government has largely pushed forward with measures to repair public finances as it seeks further disbursements of bailout funding.

      However, voters appeared to take their revenge on Sunday.

      In Lisbon, the Socialist mayor Antonio Costa won a third term by a wide margin, securing more votes than in the last municipal election in 2009.

      He garnered between 51 and 55 percent of the vote according to exit polls conducted by the Catholic University for the public television channel RTP. In 2009, he scored 44 percent.

      In a surprise result in Porto, independent candidate Rui Moreira beat off challenges from the SDP’s Luis Filipe Menezes and Socialist Manuel Pizarro.

      In Vila Nova de Gaia, usually a stronghold of the right on the outskirts of Porto, the Socialists’ Eduardo Rodrigues won with 38-42 percent of the vote.

      Among those who backed the Socialists was economics teacher Alda Camara.

      “Passos Coelho is a mere puppet of (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel. They (the government) are making savings affecting children,” she told AFP. “There are classes in Portugal now without a teacher.”

      Some 9.5 million people were eligible to elect representatives for 308 city halls.

      The vote came as auditors from the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank are in Lisbon to review Portugal’s progress and decide whether to release a 5.5 billion euro loan instalment.

      Prior to the vote, Passos Coelho insisted that “the municipal election results will have no effect on national policy.”

      But he conceded Sunday that “even if this is not a national election, the results of the local vote must be considered at a national level.”


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  18. PORTUGAL: The country’s most senior domestic security official has resigned amid a corruption scandal.

    Minister for internal administration Miguel Macedo announced on Sunday he was quitting after last week’s arrests of several senior officials.

    Police said 11 people were suspected of corruption, money laundering, influence peddling and embezzlement involving residence permits for wealthy non-EU investors.


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